I am from Penang, Malaysia. I was raised in a Christian home and attended church services at my hometown Methodist church with my family since young. My father was a Seventh-Day Adventist. Growing up, there were certain doctrinal teachings I was taught which I did not receive much clarification upon. Despite that, my brother and I have never attended a Seventh-Day Adventist church before.
The turning point of my life came when I first entered university in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was 20 years old back then, and it was a daunting experience for me to be away from home. I struggled with homesickness and studies, and desperately yearned for a community. My friend invited me to her church one day. I was instantly embraced into the church community as they were very welcoming, many of whom were campus students. It was the first time that I experienced a sense of belonging to a close-knit community in Christ. I felt accepted, and this filled the void of loneliness in me. However, I was soon in for a culture shock. This church had practices which were vastly different, such as speaking in “tongues”, singing of contemporary Christian worship songs, blinding disco lights, dancing and loud shouting of praises during worship services. I questioned their charismatic practices, but was coerced into thinking that these were acceptable God-honouring practices of worship. I was even told by my cell leader to pray to God for the “gift” to worship in “tongues”, although I clearly knew I could not do so. Over time, despite increasing doubts, I was compelled to accept their beliefs, and adopt their passion and zeal in proclaiming the gospel work.
When I was at the age of 21, the Lord revealed Himself to me through His divine Truth and I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into my life. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness, for He has redeemed me from my sin and brokenness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The following year, I left my country to study abroad in New Zealand for 2½ years. Thank God for His unfailing goodness as He provided me with a job in Singapore when I graduated. In 2018, I started working in Singapore at the age of 25. Since my university days, I had visited various churches, but sadly, have come across numerous watered-down sermons. Deep within me, I had many unanswered doctrinal questions, which became a hindrance for me to progress deeper in my faith. I was spiritually malnourished and yearned for a deeper understanding of God’s Truth, as Scripture states in Hebrews 5:13-14, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
In early 2020, I was invited by my friend to Gethsemane B-P Church. I was gripped by Pastor Koshy’s inerrant expounding of God’s Word, for as Romans 10:17 states, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Week after week during the lockdown, I tuned in to Pastor Koshy’s sermons, and slowly grew in understanding of the Word through his faithful preaching. Furthermore, I was greatly encouraged by his exhortations to bear witness for Christ through his testimonies. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). I thank God for His abounding grace and mercy for opening my eyes to the goodness of His Truth. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). I now understand that being a true follower of Christ requires personal sanctification, denouncing the old man in us and consecration towards godly living, as stated in Ephesians 4:23-24, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Indeed, “ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
Praise God for the sound doctrinal teaching of God’s Word in Gethsemane B-P Church, that I may be blessed greatly by the wonderful Truth. “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:7-9). All glory to God.
Yap Chen Han
I was 9 years old when my parents placed me in a Buddhist association in the hope of me learning the ways of “Dharma” and a life free from desires and needs. Growing up, I was told that we can attain enlightenment through good merits, which would grant us a ticket to heaven.
When I was at the age of 18, my elder brother (then 24), came home one day and declared himself a Christian. Being very fervent, he just couldn’t stop preaching to me about Jesus and who Jesus is. Great tension began at home when he called God as his heavenly father, which angered my dad a great deal. But something about my elder brother’s outlook in life had changed. He often emphasised how sinful we are by nature, and how much we are in need of knowing our Creator (God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit). His temper had also improved noticeably, which was much to my mother’s delight.
I decided to find out more about Jesus, and in late 2012 / early 2013, I attended Lighthouse Church. However, I found myself not gaining much spiritual knowledge. I was constantly learning, yet arriving at nothing. Before that, I visited Gethsemane BP Church once (at the invitation of my friend, Bro Marcus Peh) to watch a Christmas choir presentation in 2012. It wasn’t until early 2020 that I decided to come over to worship at Gethsemane.
On my first visit in March 2020, Pastor Koshy was expounding the Book of Jude on the apostates of our time. It was a fiery message that pierced my heart, as it revealed how misguided my previous church leaders were. Apart from the afterthought that I might have witnessed a modern-day Paul preaching, the message struck me very deeply. It revealed many of the erroneous teachings that I had been exposed to previously. I began to question the validity of those spiritual gifts that many charismatics had claimed to possess. It also dawned upon me that there is no aspect of the universe that is not under God’s reign – “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19). He even knows our thoughts, and our intention behind every action. He is above all.
With a heavy heart, I realise I had to cut off ties with some friends from my previous (Charismatic) church before my transfer to Gethsemane BP Church. Not because I thought they are bad people, but because they believe so deeply in their own misguided versions of the Gospel that I knew it was not possible for us to communicate any further. Though I lost some friends along the way, I’d rather be in God’s will, and I am happy to be in Gethsemane. Fighting my battles and struggles daily, I pray that God will be my source of help each day.